Fixing links in the healthcare supply chain at the 2022 Fall IDN Summit

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By Mark Weadon

Last week, I attended the 2022 Fall IDN Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. The Fall IDN Summit is a great event that brings together senior hospital and integrated delivery network (IDN) executives with supply chain and pharmacy executives. Everyone there is passionate about improving efficiency across the healthcare ecosystem. I wanted to go to hear their latest thoughts on this topic!

If you were to ask me the key theme of the event, I’d tell you that it was “building relationships that matter.” Throughout the conference, I kept hearing about providers, suppliers, and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) working together to build more resilient healthcare supply chains.

With near-record attendance, the IDN Summit underscored how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed existing vulnerabilities in the healthcare supply chain. Many C-level attendees shared their perspectives on current supply chain challenges and what organizations can do to optimize their supply chain.

Curious about what else I learned? Take a read below.

Transparency and information sharing is key – but don’t forget cost

Imagine the possibility of having to cancel a critical patient procedure because your facility has no masks, gloves or IV contrast dye.

When one hospital faced a glove supply shortage during the pandemic, they were fortunate to quickly scramble and find a small vendor to deliver the desperately needed gloves within two days. Without that new supplier, patient care may have been impacted. That’s why it’s so important for providers and suppliers to improve supply chain transparency and information sharing to improve supply chain resiliency.

With many hospitals struggling with profitability in 2022, conference speakers noted that cost and supply chain resiliency both matter equally to executives – making the challenge of improving availability while also maintaining or even lowering the cost of supplies even more challenging.

To adapt accordingly, providers and suppliers must build effective partnerships to implement resilient supply chains without raising costs. And lastly, providers must seek value in every supply chain decision, and their suppliers need to be strong partners to ensure the mutual success of both organizations.

Providers need to think creatively to get all the supplies they need

Conference speakers emphasized that healthcare provider organizations are expected to have 100% of the supplies and materials needed to treat patients. One health system shared multiple strategies from their experience to meet this challenging goal:

  • Look into other industries: Hire supply chain talent from other industries to bring their best practices into healthcare. 
  • Develop product substitutions: Use experienced nurses to perform clinical evaluations to determine acceptable product substitutes.
  • Increase safety stock for high-risk supplies: This strategy increases costs and needed warehouse space, but the extra cost can ensure patient care is not delayed.
  • Leverage multiple suppliers: Where possible, maintain dual-source or multi-source suppliers in critical categories.

Another speaker shared the importance of understanding the global nature of the healthcare supply chain and increasing volume commitments for critical products that are manufactured domestically or near shore to limit supply disruptions. 

Learn more about the value of data and analytics in healthcare

The energy of the IDN Summit also extended to the Definitive Healthcare booth. Representatives from health systems, medical device companies, medical supply companies, GPOs, and other organizations visited our booth to learn how healthcare commercial intelligence can help their organizations grow.    

Timely and accurate intelligence will be instrumental in helping providers, suppliers, and GPOs adapt their strategies to new developments in the healthcare supply chain and improve the lives of patients.

If you missed us at the 2022 Fall IDN Summit and want to explore how our intelligence can help your organization succeed, start a free trial today.

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